Charukesi , the 26th melakartha raga which belongs to Bana Chakra(the 5th Chakra) is an exotic and intriguing raga that invokes a meditative mood. This raga clearly brings out the flavours of Sringara (Romance), Soka (Sorrow), Saantha (Tranquil, Peace) and Bhakthi Rasa (devotion)with equal felicity. It can also be said that the raga essentially conveys the feeling of “nenjai urukkum “ quality . Charukesi rejuvenates the mind helping one to age gracefully. It enlivens the singer and listener. This raga is suitable for singing at all times.
In Mind, Body and Soul Chakra – Chakra 5 is the spirit Chakra: This chakra is located between the Solar Plexus and the Heart and is the energy center that contacts, and gets guidance from heavenly bodies. Charukesi give relief from heart ailments. Hence it is said that Charukesi is a raga close to the heart.
It is also known as “Tarangini” in the “Dikshitar Asampoorna Mela System. Charukesi is usually referred to as combination of Sankarabharanam and Thodi. The first half (purvanga) has the swaras of Sankarabharanam and the second half (uttaranga) has the swaras of Thodi. But the transition of first half to the second is very graceful and not mechanical.
Charukesi has the following Arohana and Avarohanam.
Arohanam: S R2 G3 M1 P D1 N2 S
Avarohanam : S N2 D1 P M1 G3 R2 S
(chathusruthi rishabham, anthara gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, shuddha dhaivatham, kaisiki nishadham)
The major notes of the scale in this raga gives it a personality of strength only to be followed with the minor notes D1 and N2 which gives a touch of softness and kindness that show limitless delicate potential.
Rishabham is the Jeeva Swaram and the Nyasa Swaram for this raga.
Prayogas – pdndpgr – srgmgrns – pdpnd – rgmg rsd – pdsrg mggrr srgmgrsrgrs -grrsrns
Although the Raaga has been handled by almost all the famous Carnatic music composers, Adamodi Galade by Saint Thyagaraja and Kripaya paalaya sowray by Maharaja Swathi Thirunaal are popular. Charukesi is a Raaga whose intricate structure is more visible and understood in the Anupallavi part of a Krithi (the higher octave of the Raaga exposition) giving a feel of a Himalayan glacier. Krithis of Thyagaraja are not manthra-s recited in temples. They are excellent musical tabloids which never age, on the contrary they mature with age. The more one sings them , one discovers everytime a new luminescence, a new shallow, a fresh freedom. What exactly has made these compositions unique? Is it the Sahitya(lyric), the satvik music ( pious melody), the message or the grammer? Whatever be the factor, the entire composition will ultimately lead the singer/listener to extreme divinity.“Hey Surano Chandrabha” is a famous Abhang in this Raag which is ery soulful.
Lalgudi Jayram’s most famous Pada Varnam composition Varnam in this raag “Innam Manam Ariyadhe means “Oh Lord Dont you know my mind yet” in this particular raga is an examplory blend of raga, bhava, rhythm and lyrical beauty. The unique feature about Lalgudi is that his music is very expressive. This is one of my favourites simply because it lends itself to be danced to in the classical style . ML Vasantha Kumari singing Ada Modi Galathe is an all time enchanting classic.
Innam en (varnam)-Lalgudi G. Jayaraman
Kripaya palaya – Swati Tirunal
Ayiram ayiram -Ambujam Krishna
Mayil meedhu -Calcutta Gurumurthy
No one can deny the fact that Chaarukesi was more popularized by M.K.Thyagaraja Bhaagawadhar, with his evergreen melody hit Manmadha leelaiyai venraar vundo in the film Haridas The success of the song, `Manmatha leelayai’ sung by MKT confirms Charukesi’s poetic and phonetic vitality. `Aadal Kaaneero’ in “Madurai Veeran,” `Vasanthamullai pole,’ `Adal Kalaye Devan Thandadu’ in the film Sri Ragavendra, `Unakkum Enakkum Isaindha Porutham’ (of Ramalinga Adigal) are some of the hit songs in Charukesi. But…the modern cine lovers will understand and cherish Chaarukesi only with Kaadhalin deepam onru in Thanbikki endha ooru, a Rajinikaanth super hit movie.
Charukesi is definitely A.R.R’s favourite raga. Among recent songs,’Udhaya udhaya’ song from tamil movie “Udhaya”, a mesmerizing song based on Charukesi raaga. One of the best composition of A.R.Rahman which definitely is everyone’s favourite. Another A.R.Rahman composition ‘edho edho ondru’ from the tamil movie “enakku 20 unakku 18”. This song is a nice melody and has a nice flavour of charukesi raagam.
It is interesting to note that most of the Krithis and film songs mentioned here have substantial period of sustenance in the higher octave. For example, Manmadha leelaiyai begins in a higher octave note and swirls around higher notes; Nadanthaai Vaazhi Kaaveri also has its beginning in a higher octave note and Kaadhala Kaadhala goes as high as the panchamam. As usual Charukeshi has been used by Bollywood in recent movies such as Swades.
Illayaraja – Tamil
Aadal Kalayae – Sri Raghavendra (what a song !)
Amma Nee Sumandha – Annaiyor Aalayam
Arumbagi Mottaagi – Enga Ooru Kavalkaaran
Chinnanjiru Kiliye – Mundhaanai Mudichu
Kadhalin Deepam Ondru – Thambikku Entha Ooru
Manamaalayum Manjalum – Vathiyaar Veetu Pillai
Mayanginen Solla Thayanginen – Naane Raja Naane Manthiri
Nallathor Veenai Seithe – Marubadiyum
Nandhavanam – illam
Petha Manasu – Enna Petha Rasa (taking carnatic music to the masses)
Sakkara Katti Sakkara Katti Ullae Veliye
Siriya Paravai – Andha Oru Nimidam
Thoodhu Selvadharadi – Singaravelan
Uyire Uyirin Oliye – En Bommukkutti Ammavukku
Vaanathila Velli Ratham – Enga Ooru Maapilla
Raveendran – Malayalam
Hey Krishna-Kizhakkunaraum Pakshi-Raveendran
I conclude this review by saying that Chaarukesi is a very soulful raga having a universal appeal with her charming beauty. She induces a soft mood but kindles deep rooted subtle emotions. Charukesi is capable of holding the listener in an enthralling appeal with it’s simple arrangement of swaras and great emotional impact . Charukesi is known to incite feelings of pathos and devotion in the listener.
Composer – Thyagaraja
Adamodi Galade Ramayya Maata
Meaning : Oh ! Raama.. Why the haughtiness ? Please talk to me!.
Thodunida Nive Yanuchu Bhaktito
Gudina Nee Paadamu Battina Naato Maata
Meaning : To me, who considers You a shadow-like constant companion, is devoted towards You, and has touched Your feet, Why the haughtiness ? Please talk to me!.
Chaduvulanni Delisi Shankaraantshu Dai
Sadayu Daasuga Sambhavudu Mrokka
Kadalu Tammuni Balka Jesitivi Gaakanu
Tyaagaraaje Paati Maata
Meaning: When the erudite Anjaneya saluted you, O Merciful one, You asked your younger brother to listen and convey his narrations. Why then be indifferent to Thyagraja who addresses you?
Enjoy Charukesi to your Heart’s content by downloading it here 🙂